Note: We probably won’t recap regular season games individually very often, but this is Hockey Christmas so I thought I’d touch on the two early games separately. Expect a recap post for the 10:00 PM ET games tomorrow morning, though.
While a lot of the pressure is on Carey Price in Montreal, the 2010-11 season is a huge one for a nearly forgotten goalie by the name of J.S. Giguere. Things have been rocky for the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup winner ever since he raised the silver chalice, but if he ever needed motivation to rekindle his old magic, how about a contract year?
So far, so good, as Jiggy’s strong goatending powered the Maple Leafs to their first win in a home opener since 2000.
Carey Price struggled a bit to begin the game, at least on paper, allowing two in the first period. (I say he struggled because any goals that go in will be over-analyzed in hockey crazed Montreal.) Giguere did indeed top him, though, stopping 25 of 27 shots, including a late flurry from the Habs in the third period.
Tim Brent, Phil Kessel and Altanta arbitration reject Clarke MacArthur scored Toronto’s three goals while Dustin Boyd and Jeff Halpern scored for the Canadiens.
Here are some interesting points from the Associated Press recap.
It was a typically tight game between the longtime rivals, who needed overtime to decide five of six meetings last season. That included the opener, in which Montreal tied it late before pulling out a 4-3 win in extra time.
Only six Leafs players who played in that game were on the ice for this one – a sign of the massive overhaul general manager Brian Burke constructed over the last year.
MacArthur, one of the new faces, scored the eventual winner. He made a nice play to beat defenseman Jaroslav Spacek before putting a nice backhander behind Carey Price at 1:36 of the third period.
Hopefully people aren’t too high in Toronto or too low in Montreal, but don’t be surprised. It’s the nature of these puck-obsessed markets, after all.